New York City, NY — by Alexandra Cohen
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
I love my friends from NYU and I love my friends from high school, even though they go to other schools far away. The nature of our distance lends to my stage four FOMO — so I love having their locations on Snap Map and Find My Friends. I can see that they’re at that frat house again or their dorms, or in class — like a friendly stalker, keeping an eye on those I love with no practical purpose. I love having insight into my brother’s life as a junior in high school or my best friend’s life across the country in San Diego. A phone call or text message often requires more effort than most are willing to give, but BeReal has made authentic and surface-level relationship maintenance easy.
There is something beautifully universal about every single BeReal app user getting notified at the same time and scrambling to look cool or hot or interesting for the same two minutes. We are all so insecure about our lives and our looks, so watching everyone else feel those same insecurities and still posting two unedited photos each day breaks the mold of traditional social media for the better. And who am I to even say this is not traditional? Social media has been around for such a short period of time that perhaps other apps will adapt. Snapchat makes photos disappear, Instagram stories only stay up for a day, and tweets can be deleted. Permanence is wonderful at times, but the shared temporarity that BeReal establishes brings us closer to the world from before digital footprints and facetune.
BeReal on a college campus — and in a city like New York — brings about a sense of community. When BeReal goes off as I walk the streets, I see crowds of young people huddling for photos, rushing against the two-minute timer. When it goes off at WSN, I hear “it’s BeReal time” and watch my own BeReal feed fill up with photos against the backdrop of our iconic red wall. At a party, we all pose in our finest outfits to capture the night and to prove to all of our friends that yes, we are at a party. BeReal is the social media platform for the in-person world.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.